Such incidents are occurring with more frequency across the country as more than 80 rural hospitals have closed between 2010 and 2018, according to Becker’s Hospital Review.
With patients increasingly responsible for their own medical bills, timely and complete collections have become challenging for healthcare facilities. When hospitals are unable to collect on patients’ bills, the results can be devastating. In a recent survey, 83 percent of healthcare facilities said their top challenge is slow payment from patients with high-deductible plans. Many providers also reported millions of dollars in unpaid medical bills.
To solve revenue cycle problems and sustain business, more facilities and multi-facility healthcare providers are turning to new processes and technologies. For instance, customizable, innovative tech solutions can help healthcare facilities in several ways.
Provide more accurate medical billing estimates. Most patients don’t know how much they’ll be expected to pay for healthcare services until after the fact. However, patients are more likely to pay if they understand their financial responsibility upfront, explains, Sarah Knodel, Vice President of Revenue Cycle at Texas-based Baylor Scott & White Health System, in an article from Modern Healthcare.
Even when they attempt to provide upfront pricing, many systems get it wrong. According to Black Book’s Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) survey, around 83 percent of ambulatory providers, including outpatient surgery centers, indicated they typically estimate patient payments incorrectly at the time of service. To rectify these errors, properly designed IT solutions can work to match patient’s needs with insurance or Medicare coverage and automatically provide accurate price estimations.
Make it easier for patients to pay their bills. Patients and families, rather than insurance companies, are now responsible for large portions of healthcare bills. Based on this shift in payment models, facilities should strive to make paying healthcare bills as simple as paying other household bills. The Black Book survey showed that 62 percent of medical bills were paid online, and 95 percent of the consumers polled said they'd pay online if the providers offered the option. A majority of patients—71 percent—said mobile payment and billing alerts improved their satisfaction with a provider.
Patients also expressed satisfaction with options that allowed spouses, family members, friends, and others to pay medical bills without the need to access the patient's medical records. Over half those surveyed said online payments without the hassle of registration and passwords was an added convenience.
Improve internal processes. The majority of healthcare providers—82 percent—and 92 percent of hospitals surveyed reported that traditional collection solutions are negatively impacting their profit margins, according to the Black Book survey. In contrast, customized IT solutions help create a more seamless medical billing workflow with easier integration. A more tailored approach to revenue cycle management can help consolidate patient and payment data. Consolidation is especially useful for emerging corporate hospitals and healthcare facilities experiencing transitions.
MEDHOST’s Business Services give multi-facility leaders a competitive advantage when it comes to the integrated finances by helping guide the complete RCM process along a clear path to success. Our skilled team of medical billing specialists monitors claims and works within the facilities billing system to provide full transparency into the health of patient accounts. Business services are designed to add an extra layer of accuracy and safeguard against errors and issues that may hold up the claims process. As part of MEHDOST’s Business Services we provide a standardized general ledger giving multi-facility leaders a comprehensive look at financial data, so they can make more informed business decisions. Medial billing solutions for multi-facility customers are often customized from the ground up and include general financial applications such as:
The General Ledger also allows users to drill down to the purchase-order level for heightened financial analysis supported by comprehensive reporting, budgeting, and forecasting capabilities.
Want to learn more about how MEDHOST can help solve your healthcare financial data challenges? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1.800.383.6278 to speak with one of our specialists.
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